When Tom Brady left the New England Patriots, after serving the team for 20 seasons, Bill Belichick was always going to struggle to fill the void. Cam Newton got the first crack at attempting to do so but fell well short, but it appears that young quarterback Mac Jones may be better placed to fill the shoes of the seven-time Super Bowl winner.
The 23-year-old put in solid numbers in his debut season, throwing for a combined total of over 4000 yards over the course of the regular season, and the brief playoff stint and his 24 touchdown total is both above those levels reached by Brady in his first full season at the Foxboro back in 2001 (when he, of course, led the Patriots to a Super Bowl triumph).
New England returned to somewhere near where they need to be, their 10-7 record being better than most bookmakers via sidelines.io would have predicted. Indeed they are available at around (+2500) for 2022, and those odds are a marked improvement on the season that’s just finished.
So, can Mac Jones build on his impressive first season at the Gillette Stadium? Well, the Pats star is quietly confident that those around him are of a high enough level to help New England grow next season, stating of his team-mates;
“I think we made a lot of progress this year with the guys we had, and I trust all those guys,”
“Just being young, they all had my back in the receiver, tight end, and running back room. We have a lot of room to grow, in my opinion. I’ll leave that up to the front office and all that, but I’m happy with the guys we have.”
If he wants to follow in the footsteps of a certain Tom Brady, then he’ll have to become 100% focused on the road ahead, and to that end, Mac Jones is very honest about his offseason goals, specifically in relation to staying in shape.
“I like ice cream too much,”
“Like a lot of people,” Jones added.
Some critics have pointed out that Jones isn’t a quick mover, and perhaps that’s where the fitness issue needs to be addressed, and again as he’ll always be compared to Brady, this need to clean up becomes all the more important.
Those concerned by Patriots insider Tom Curran, who was more reserved in his judgement on Jones;
“They have a quarterback. I don’t know if he’s the quarterback,”
“He will be the quarterback for five years, certainly. They’re going to have to figure out a way to build around him. … Mac Jones isn’t very mobile, and he’s challenged in terms of arm strength compared to the rest of the league.”
And that’s probably a fair assessment of where he is at present, but given we are talking about a player who’s just completed a very successful rookie season, perhaps Mac Jones needs to be cut a little slack.